The Canucks are in a Great Spot with the 10th pick

There are countless NHL draft rankings out there right now and the Vancouver Canucks have many different names tied to their tenth overall pick. Prospects like Cole Caufield, Matt Boldy, Alex Newhook and Victor Soderstrom have all been talked about in this market as some of the players that could be available at 10 when Jim Benning & Co take to the stage on June 21st.

The Canucks sit right in the pocket as Jim Lahey used to say, they are in a spot where a great player will for sure be available as this draft has 13 players that stand above the rest.

Jack Hughes
Vasili Podkolzin
Bowen Byram
Kirby Dach
Alex Turcotte
Cole Caufield
Trevor Zegras
Kaapo Kakko
Matt Boldy
Dylan Cozens
Peyton Krebs
Alex Newhook
Victor Soderstrom

These 13 prospects stick out to me as the top options for the Vancouver Canucks to draft with the tenth overall pick. Now obviously there are names like Kakko, Byram and Hughes that will for sure be gone by the time the Canucks take to podium.

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But aside from those three I truly feel it is absolutely a mashup of talent that depending on how your scouting staff does it’s evaluations, we could see any of the remaining 10 players go anywhere from third overall to fifteenth.

Vasili Podkolzin seemed to have the third spot locked down for a majority of the season but over the past few months we have seen him drop as low as 13th in some mock drafts. His contract with the KHL is likely to scare some teams off as every team’s GM would like to have at least a bit of control when it comes to the years following a players first round selection.

Podkolzin could be one of the most skilled players to come out of this draft but waiting a few years with no control will likely make him a strong candidate to be the player that slides in the 2019 draft.

There are guys like Alex Newhook and Victor Soderstrom who have not been featured in many top 10s over the past few months, though Newhook did see himself as high as number three at the beginning of the season in some draft rankings.

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These two players show a bit of a risk/reward situation for me, Soderstrom has a very high floor with the potential to be a top pairing defenceman. Not necessarily a number one d-man but the perfect pairing partner for a guy like Quinn Hughes. As for Newhook, it was great to see him have plenty of success this year at the U-18s, the BCHLer scored five goals and five assists in only seven games and was one of Canada’s most dominant forces in the tournament.

Newhook destroyed the BCHL this year putting up 49 goals and 126 points in 68 regular season and playoff games, his talent shined in every single game and the young Grizzlies’ captain will have an impressive crop of 2019 NHL draft prospects to join him at Boston College next year.

Two of the USNTDP player Alex Turcotte and Trevor Zegras fit into similar projections for me as they both had great seasons with the U18 team and will more than likely be picked in the top 10. Turcotte had more time at centre but Zegras showed some amazing playmaking ability when lined up alongside Jack Hughes and Cole Caufield.

That brings me to Cole Caufield, the 72 goal scoring, record breaking 5’7″ right winger. Though there are some defensive deficiencies in Caufield’s game, he will be called very early at the NHL draft, I predict as high as fifth to the LA Kings, but he could also fall in the Canucks laps at 10 if teams are scared off due to his size translating to the NHL game. It is 2019, and size is not everything anymore, it’s about how you use your size.

Kirby Dach, Dylan Cozens and Peyton Krebs all had very solid years in the WHL, it really is a comeback year for “The Dub” as it will see 2-4 players taken in the top 10 of the draft and could see up to seven players go in the first round. These players are just a tad under the USNTDP in my rankings but they have shown that they can compete in a physical WHL when guys like Turcotte, Zegras and Caufield were playing in a league that saw a lot less physical hockey.

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The USNTDP guys can throw it around a bit I guess.

Speaking of USNTDP players that can throw it around that brings me to Matt Boldy.

Matt Boldy can play both wings, has a great release to go along with his big body and strong first three strides. He plays a tough game, is a confident kid and knows what he has to improve on the be a top six winger in the NHL. He would also fit in very nicely with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser on a line and for that reason he seems to be one of the favourites on Canucks twitter.

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All in all the Canucks sit in a great spot, these 13 players all bring something different to a team’s prospect pool and each of them look to be a contributor to an NHL team in the years to come. The Canucks have a positional need for a right shot defenceman and a left winger so players like Trevor Zegras, Matt Boldy and Victor Soderstrom do fit the organizational needs.

The other thing about being the 10th spot is that there could be a player that the Canucks are targeting that is just outside of the projected top 13 that they value highly. The Canucks could look the route of adding a defenceman like Philip Broberg, Cam York or Thomas Harley, but I do believe there are more talented players in my top 13.

There will be a big boost the Vancouver Canucks on June 21st and with the craziness that the first round of the NHL draft always gives us we will could see one of the nine teams prior to the Canucks go off the board and take a wildcard player like OHL sniper Arthur Kaliyev. It’s going to be a fun month as we approach the draft and one thing is certain, the Vancouver Canucks will get a great player with their 10th overall pick.


Read also:

Best skill sets of the 2019 NHL Draft

A look at the mixed results of past 10th overall picks

  • If someone goes off the board like Montreal or Arizona did last year, it only works to our benefit even more. If that happens, I’d be happy with trading down 1-2 spots to get an extra 2nd or 3rd round pick. Even if we end up with Soderstrom, Newhook, or York, we still get a very good player with Middle 6/Top 4 potential plus the extra pick in a “deep” draft.

        • I was initially high on Soderstrom and saw how he had been trending up in the rankings, closer to the #11-14 ranking. However, when someone wrote that “if Soderstrom was a LHD, he’d go in the back half of the 1st round”, that woke me up and made me recognize my positional bias (even though I’m a huge BPA advocate). Scouting reports indicate that he is likely Top 4, top pairing potential being a stretch. At #10, it makes more sense to take a forward with Top 6 potential (possibly top line potential) rather than take Soderstrom. 1st line forward > Top 4 D.

        • The more and more I see of these other players I do love a bit of my love for Söderström. But I do believe he is one of if not the smartest player in this draft at understanding how a play develops in the offensive zone. I don’t think he’s a huge reach at 10 but if they can add a piece to move down to 12-13 I think that’s an option to consider too. I wouldn’t pass on Boldy or Caufield to draft Söderström but I would take Söderström over guys like Newhook, Dach and Krebs.

  • BR(j)ED

    Nice breakdown here Chris, it’s definitely hard to call how this top 10 will play out in a few weeks.

    Unless one of the 3 you mentioned (Boldy, Zegras, or Krebs) fall to the Canucks, I’d agree that trading down is the best option.

  • Kanuckhotep

    The inexact science which a pro sports draft is prompts much pondering. Cole Caulfield is a small player and would scare off a lot of clubs. You could get either a Jordan Schroeder, whom the Canucks drafted, or a Brendan Gallagher whom they didn’t. Plus at 18 a guy could have played with a good team and/ or good line mates or won a Memorial Cup going into his draft year which looks good on him at that present time. And he might just turn out to be a bust despite junior success. Glad I’m not a GM because after the first few picks it’s pull tabs time at your favourite pub.

    • Defenceman Factory

      Caulfield played with very good line mates in a league known to not be very physical. Maybe it’s a stretch but Kole Lind may have put up similar points in that league if centred by Hughes. Being small may not be quite the disadvantage it once was but being big is still a significant advantage.

      • Jim’s Burner Account

        Watched most of the U18 games last month and have no idea what people are talking about when they talk about Caufield having poor foot speed or average skating. His pace is very good and I would describe his skating as easily above average, though perhaps next to Jack Hughes it looks unimpressive. Feels like a game of telephone where people keep repeating the same inaccuracies until it becomes accepted as fact :shrug

  • j2daff

    not sure why soderstrom is on this list over guys like Hurley and Broberg, not that at ten we should select any of them though…

    assuming the top 3 go as expected, any one of Boldy, Cozens, Dach, Turcotte, pods, krebs or even caufield would be great additions. That’s ten players and we probably shouldn’t look any further

  • TheRealPB

    You’ve outlined exactly why it makes very little sense to trade up. By the same token, I wonder if it makes other teams less likely to give up much to make a similar move themselves. I see a lot of people suggesting we could get an extra 2nd or 3rd for dropping back a few slots but I don’t know if the price would be that good or if it would be worth it.

    • j2daff

      if it’s worth trading down depends on how far we would drop and where and how much you see the drop off is between this tear and the next one in this draft. To drop two spots and still get a player you think is the same level obviously worth it but to drop more and get a lesser player is not. I’m in the group; make the pick unless you are made an offer that just cannot be refused which might have to be an extra first or at least a really high second.

      • DogBreath

        More than anything, the Canucks need top 3 forwards and top pair D. They don’t need more 3rd liners and bottom half D. It seems their best chance of filling this void is not trading down. It seems they give up too much to move up. Best to stay where they are and trust the scouts.

  • Burnabybob

    I wouldn’t say the Canucks are in at GREAT spot this draft. If you look at the 10th overall pick the past 10 years, most have developed into complementary players. Role player types. More have washed out of the NHL entirely than have developed into franchise cornerstones. I’m not trying to be negative, just tempering expectations a bit.

  • kermit

    This year it will be more about picking from the leftovers, but the top half of the first round is deep so 10th is still a good spot. It’s GM’s like Blake in LA and Yzerman in Detroit who are going to feel the pressure to choose wisely.